India men & women play NZ, Netherlands in tournament opener of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Last Modified Saturday, 21 December 2019 (16:16 IST)
New Delhi:The Indian men's and women's team will begin their opening matches against New Zealand and at  the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 25, the FIH announced in Tokyo.     
The International Hockey Federation (FIH), while releasing the match schedule said, the India men's team will play opener against New Zealand on July 25 and second match against the formidable Australian on July 26 and play Spain on July 28 and defending champions Argentina on July 30 and hosts Japan on July 31 in Group A. 
The women's team who will be making their second consecutive Olympic appearance will take on Germany in their second Pool A match on July 27 followed by the match against defending Champions Great Britain on July 29, Ireland on July 31 and South Africa on August 1. 
Hockey Team will take on New Zealand in their opening match at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on 25 July 2020 while the Indian Women's Team will play against Rio Olympics Silver Medallists Netherlands on 25th July 2020. 
The men's and women's gold medal matches will take place on August 6 and 7 respectively, the FIH said in a statement.The Indian men's team, ranked fifth in the world, had qualified for the Tokyo Games after beating Russia 11-3 on aggregate in the Olympic qualifiers held in Bhubaneswar earlier this month. 
While women's team ranked ninth in tye world had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after beating the United Sates 6-5 on aggregate in the qualifiers held in Bhubaneswar earlier this month.
Speaking about the draw, Indian men's skipper Manpreet Singh said, "A good start will always give the right confidence and momentum to carry on in the tournament so it will be important for us to begin with a win. 
New Zealand have always posed stiff competition for us and I believe it can be a close game," stated skipper further adding that the team will need to keep a check on their nerves. 
Meanwhile, the Indian women's skipper Rani Rampal said, "Draw does not matter because in the Olympics every team is equal and every team will come to the Olympics with an aim win. We are preparing well to ensure we tick all the boxes in each of our match and put all the energy into every game we play and give our best to the blue shirt if we want to see ourselves in the quarter finals and semi finals." (UNI)
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